Gadget of the Year 2020

Thanks for taking the time to view my 2020 gadget list.  This year the list is heavily influenced by WFH gadgets as the COVID pandemic has changed our lives completely. You will also note that for the second year in a row there is no iPhone.  Once again Apple has produced an OK incremental upgrade but isn’t worthy of being on the list.  

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Aveine Smart Aerator

$299
One of the key household purchases that indicate you are truly an adult is when you buy a decanter for the first time. Even if you have no idea what it means to “let it open up”, you will gain an immediate air of a wine expert when you say those words. This gadget will take you to a whole new level, allow precise aeration that actually looks like it works to make the experience more enjoyable. Of course its also connected to an app! Given that you are no longer going to as many restaurants you may as well treat yourself!

Wine Save Pro

$38
During the pandemic, alcohol sales soared. Everyone was finding themselves pouring glasses at odd hours, sometimes even during conference calls (yes I am talking to you). Being forced to finish a bottle because its open is one of the surest ways to make your WFH morning experience way worse than it needs to be. Coravin pioneered the space with a wine saver gadget that costs more than a small car. This which does essentially the same thing by squirting Argon gas into your bottle. It will extend your bottle life for days and means you can have just one more without feeling too guilty. (Disclosure: I got a free bottle to review)

PS5

$460
THE most hotly anticipated console of the decade. Expected to trounce Microsoft in sales given their existing 140mln user base and better title release slate. The PS5 has launched to huge disappointment from fans around the world arising from global shortages. The PS5 features super fast SSD so no more long load times between levels, blistering graphics that are 4K enabled and big upgrades to the controller. You will now feel the difference between guns for example as the controller provides haptic feedback 

Sony Wireless Lamp Speakers

$644
Its a speaker, its a lamp, its just a really pretty piece of kit that you can put on your side table and not be classed as too much of a geek

Infrared Faucet

$40
It used to be that you knew you were in a fancy restaurants if they had infrared operated taps. Today its common place outside but no in the home…yet. With COVID today there is a greater need to reduce the amount of contact you have with surfaces when washing your hands. This is just a super convenient and cheap gadget that will make life that much easier 

LG Widescreen Monitor

$200
A comfortable WFH set up is key to not going completely mad. Today there are plenty of cheap widescreen monitor in the market that relieve the insanity of the small screen monitors. Get one and don’t look back

Roku

$30
We are all watching more TV than we should. But Queen’s Gambit and Fauda have been standout 2020 TV shows. If you don’t have a Smart TV then get the latest Roku. Absurdly good value for money and allows you to instantly watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO etc all powered by the Roku stick. When we start travelling again you can also stick in your carry on and plug it into any hotel TV. 

Wake Up Therapy Philips

$126
As we start to go back to work and our alarm clocks become more important. Buy this nifty gadget to help kickstart the production of Vitamin B to give you the best start in the morning. It’s like having your very own personal sunrise next to your head.

Google Mesh WIFI

$200 for 3
Personally I am tempted to go old school and buy a desktop PC that is wired into my router. Because if WFH is going to a somewhat permanent feature, why are we using laptops again? Regardless, everyone has had bad experiences of WIFI connection issues. If you have thick walls or a larger house it can be very sketchy getting signal. Invest in a mesh network to extend your WIFI signal across your house, money well spent

Nanit Baby Monitor

$250
 
Babytech has been huge over the last two years. Nanit uses AI to tell you a lot about your baby, if its asleep, awake, who went in to tend to them etc. If you are into data to track your baby’s development and be assured that things are on track or not this is a great investment.

Jabra Bluetooth Headset

$220
 
Airpods are great for taking conference calls but I do find that they won’t last for a marathon of conference calls and because the microphone is so far away, you tend to find that you are shouting a little if you aren’t in total silence. Jabra has a solution, with this wireless headphones that has a boom microphone, giving you much more control and more natural speech than just using Airpods alone. I admit it doesn’t look the coolest but it will save your voice and the ears of your listener.

Meater

$89 each / $289 for three with WIFI module
Another benefit of WFH has been how much everyone has been cooking. Anyone that has made a large roast or steak knows just how tricky it can be to properly cook the meat through. Having a wired thermometer is fine if its on the griddle but using an oven it can be a pain. Enter Meater, wireless thermometer that you stick in the meat whilst in the oven and alerts your app when the meat is ready, easy!

Ring Light

$35
If your home office has poor lighting it will make you look ill and tired. Not really what you want when trying to look your best for that important zoom call. Invest in a simple and cheap ring light to banish dull washed out skin to a thing of the past

Jabre Bluetooth Conference Speaker

$100
One of the benefits of WFH has been Zoom dinners. I am not sure about you, but I have actually really enjoyed them. Catching up with people from around the world over video is acceptable and is a really positive tailwind from this pandemic. One issue is that your phones speakers will just not cut it. So buy a tripod for your phone so the viewer can have a wider view and invest in a decent bluetooth conference speaker to put on the dinner table for perfect speaker and sound. 

Razer Chair

If you don’t want to spend the cost of small car on a fancy Aeron chair then look no further. If you think about what demographic knows what it takes to sit in a chair for a hours on end and still be comfortable? Gamers! And who better to design a gaming chair than the experts at Razer. Not fully released yet but put your name down and be the first in the queue

Facebook Portal

$260
Ok after the scandals and your Zoom fatigue you are going to tell me “you want me to have a screen just for zoom and give my data to Facebook?, are you crazy?” But hear me out. If your desk is big enough, this is a really interesting device. Firstly the array of microphones and speakers make it a far better device for doing calls on than your laptop. Second and most importantly, the camera itself uses AI to track your movements. So that you are always centred. This has been shown to reduce zoom fatigue and provide for a much more natural conversation. The reviews have been surprisingly good so take a look and then give it a try

Arlo Video Door Bell

$100
The WIFI connected door bells continue to get better and better and this is the first year that I am including one here. It is definitely a close call between the Nest doorbell and this, both are excellent. However, Arlo has some interesting AI features (can distinguish between dogs, people and packages) also stops some intruder warnings automatically when you are at home using geofencing. These things are charged with battery packs so no need to rewire your house

Smart Heater Switch

$15
During lockdown one of the most shocking things was just how much my electric bills shot up. I managed to get my bills down from $500 to $150 and one of the ways was investing in a connected hot water switch. There is no need to keep your hot water switched on all the time. Realistically you mostly shower at the same times each day. Having it on a timer but also being able to control it on data at any time has resulted in huge cost savings. This device literally paid for itself within a month! Not to mention the pleasant glow you will have from saving the environment

WINNER of Gadget of the Year 2020: Playstation 5

Billy Naveed

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